DL 1.3

Aug. 13th, 2005 01:11 am
[identity profile] eee1313.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] dancing_lessons_archive
Lesson the Third: New Dawn

by Alkibiadhs
For Spike & Dawn: Lovesong by The Cure | Lyrics
For Glory: Suicide Blonde by INXS | Lyrics

Props to the whole redemptionistas club for getting the story to this point
and for making me feel all skilled about this one.


*
The girl awoke well before dawn.

Spike watched her as she rubbed her eyes and glanced around. His nightvision was good, even for a vampire. On the other hand, he doubted that she could see much of anything, because the torches were out and even if there had been a bit of sun peeking over the horizon, Spike would never have lived anywhere that might make this fact readily apparent.

"Spike?" She called hesitantly.

He lit a torch, bathing the tomb in dim firelight. "Good morning, little one," he said. "If it is morning." Spike drew a cigarette from his pocket and lit it with the torch before mounting it on the wall.

Dawn didn't speak, so Spike continued. "I heard about your mum. For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I really liked her."

The girl nodded, still not saying anything. Her hair was frazzled from sleeping on stone, and she brushed at it with her left hand, absently fixing it. Her eyes never left the floor, and her face was unreadable.

Finally, she said, "This is your coat." She held it up in front of her, considering.

"Yeah." he agreed. This was making him uncomfortable. "You were cold. Look, why are you here, niblet? It isn't safe."

Dawn looked at him carefully. "You wouldn't..."

"I wouldn't anything," he agreed. "Besides," he tapped his temple with an index finger, "not really an option, is it? The problem isn't me, love; it's your sister. She's not going to be happy when she catches you in the lair of the bloody beast again."

"Buffy won't find out. She's patrolling. And anyway, I needed to talk to you."

Spike smiled in spite of himself. What he ought to do was kick her out. He'd walk her home if it was dark, but really, she needed to leave. Because this sort of thing could get him in real trouble. Whatever they might have between them, the Slayer was not enthusiastic about a vampire spending quality time with her sibling. And Dawn was, of course, completely wrong. Buffy would find her here if he let her stay any longer. But despite all these truths, he was glad the girl had come. Dawn was the only link he had to Buffy's world, and besides which, she was the closest thing he had to a friend anymore. And whether he wanted to admit it or not, Spike had been lonely for a long time now.

So instead of telling the child to leave, he said, "Shoot."

"I need you to tell me what it's like," she told him. Her eyes studied him carefully as she spoke, as if looking for clues. "Dying, I mean. And being dead. I need to know."

Spike sighed and grimaced. "There's a bloody question."

"I need to know," she repeated. "Please."

The vampire sat down beside the teen and thought about this for a moment. "I don't know how much I can tell you," he said. "I mean, I didn't go like your mother did. There I was, feelin' a bit sorry for myself, when the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen pops up and offers me immortality. It was all kind of..."

"Sexy?" Dawn asked him, and Spike chuckled. However serious her intent in coming here had been, Dawn's adolescent curiosity seemed to have remained intact. He took his coat from her and put it back on as he spoke.

"Well, yeah, actually it was. Painful, you know, but in that really good..." Spike reconsidered exploring this particular aspect of the story and cleared his throat. "Anyway, I don't usually think about it as dying. Buffy called it 'trading up on the food chain'. I used to think of it more as evolving."

"Used to?" the girl asked.

"Picked up on that quick, didn't you? Yeah. Used to. See, when I...when I changed, part of me just disappeared, and got replaced with somethin' else."

"Is this the soul thing?"

Spike shrugged. "I guess. I never really went in for all that hocus-. That was more Angel and Darla's little hobby. 'ooo, what a pure soul, let's kill that one!' Bloody pathetic, is what that was. Generally just meant they'd find the weakest person they could, gang up on 'em, and suck 'em dry. Where's the challenge in that, you know? Get a bloody unlife!"

Dawn smiled. "I think you're getting off topic."

"Yeah, sorry. I just mean that, soul or no soul, you're not the same person anymore once you're a vampire. It's not just the bloodlust, it's...I dunno. Something's missing. Part of who you were. It's just gone. And you tell yourself 'well, sod it, that was the weak part anyhow, good riddance', but still, there's that missing piece, like an itch you can't scratch. Only thing you can do then is try to put something in its place, but then somebody comes and tears that away..."

"I don't understand," Dawn told him, shaking her head.

"Maybe I'm the wrong person to ask." Because I'm still dying, he thought, only I'm doing it real slow. "Except, Dawn." She looked up at him. "If somebody tells you she's at peace, as comfort, like, don't write that off. It's important."

"Do you think she is? At peace, I mean?"

"Yeah, I do."

"Do you miss her?" she asked.

Spike paused for a beat. "Yeah," he admitted, and she hugged him. It surprised him a little that he allowed her to, and that he found himself hugging her back, comforting her. It surprised him more to find himself taking comfort from the child's affection. He really had gone soft. That, or he was more depressed than he'd realized.

Dawn pulled away from the vampire and looked up at him quizzically.

"What?" he asked her.

"How did you meet her, anyway? I mean, it's not like the Master or Adam were ever coming over for hot chocolate."

"The first time I met your mum? Oh, now that's a story," he told her. "We...Drusilla and me, I mean...we'd just gotten to Sunnydale, see, and I was lookin' to take down another Slayer. So we had this plan. Get a whole bunch of vampires, trap lots of nice people in the school, and force her out of hiding, see?"

"Was this the time Buffy got attacked while she was trying to host parent night?"

"I dunno. Parent night? Was she? Bloody ridiculous activity for a Slayer."

"It wasn't her idea."

"Yeah well, anyway, the plan works. I get her outside, right, and we're really going at it. I knew right off this was the best I'd ever faced."

"Yeah?"

Spike smiled wickedly at the girl. "Oh yeah. One of a kind, she is. So we're fighting, I'm starting to get the upper hand, thinking I've got it made, and then wham!"

"Wham?"

"Yeah. There's this woman, right? This mortal, crazy bloody woman, holding a fire axe, and she's hit me in the sodding head with it, and she yells 'Stay the hell away from my daughter!'"

"Mom hit you with an *axe*?"

"She did. It was pretty brave, considering."

"So what'd you do?"

"Well I had to take off, didn't I? Not a lot of things more dangerous to a vampire's health than a Slayer with a second wind, you know?"

"She saved Buffy!"

"Well," Spike amended, "I can't be sure I would have won. Your sister isn't a pushover. But yeah, maybe she did."

"Spike?"

"Yeah?"

"Did you really chain Buffy to a wall?"

Spike looked away. After a pause, he sighed. "Yeah."

"You're lucky she didn't stake you."

Spike nodded. "Knocked me clear across the room, though."

"Like I said," Dawn told him, "Lucky. A punch in the face isn't exactly permanent."

Spike said nothing.

"Do you..." the girl asked. "Are you really in love with her?"

"Look, niblet, the sun's up, all right? You need to be getting home before aaaaargh!" Spike shouted and hopped out of the way of the beam of sunlight streaming in through the open door.

"Before what, Spike?" Buffy asked him. She left the door open as she entered. "Before I find my sister here again?"

"Buffy, he..."

"We're not having this conversation right now," the Slayer said coldly. She turned back to Spike, drawing a stake. "I told you to stay away from my family," she said. "I meant it."

Spike got to his feet and quickly backed away, unsure of how serious she was. With the chip in his head, he couldn't defend himself, and depressed or not, he had no urge to let her turn him to dust.

"Sodding hell," he cursed as she advanced on him. "D'you think I took her hostage? How would I do that, exactly?"

"I don't know, Spike, maybe you had help from some of your friends. Again."

"Pet, you're being completely irrational..."

"There will be time for sober reflection after I have killed you."

Something in those words halted the vampire's retreat. "You can't do this, you know," he said simply, letting her bring the stake within inches of his chest.

Buffy hesitated a moment, still angry, and put the weapon back into her coat. "I know. I'm just...I'm really tired, Spike."

Spike was a little startled by the admission, but it was evidently true. The Slayer's eyes were sleepless and red, and while she remained beautiful as ever, she did not move with her characteristic grace. "Yeah well..." he replied, a bit off balance. "Get some rest. You won't be putting fear into the hearts of demonkind if you're dozing off in a fight."

"What is she doing here?" Buffy indicated her sister.

"Wanted to talk, I guess. I was just telling her about meeting your mother."

"Did mom really hit him with an axe?" Dawn chimed in.

Buffy smiled a little. "Yeah. She really did. Now let's get out of this tomb so I can yell at you." With that, the Slayer turned to leave.

Dawn rolled her eyes, but obediently followed her sister out of the crypt. They did not say goodbye.

***

Well now, that was interesting wasn't it?

The Slayer was tired?

It wasn't that she was tired that gave the vampire pause--of course she was tired, she hadn't taken a moment to rest in days. It was that she'd admitted it to him. That was reasonably close to an apology, and though there'd been a few instances like that before, those had been before he'd threatened to have Dru eat her. It sounded as though Buffy might actually be forgiving him. Or at least letting the matter drop.

And aren't we pathetic, William the Bloody? He asked himself. Nevertheless, Spike found himself unaccountably optimistic. He wasn't going to get a wink of sleep. Unfortunately, that was a circumstance likely to leave him terribly bored. There weren't a whole lot of things to do in the crypt; television was out, it was all crap in the early hours of the morning. He'd read everything he'd brought with him or stolen, and of course, it wasn't as though there was anything to eat.

Actually, he realized, that might be a decent enough point. He hadn't bothered to buy blood in a couple of weeks, and with Buffy angry with him, he hadn't had money to do so even if he'd been of a mind to. Which meant he'd have to steal some from somewhere, eventually.

Might as well be now, I suppose, the vampire decided, and clambered down into the hidden cave beneath his crypt. It had been lucky, he realized, that Buffy hadn't had much time to explore his home, or she might have realized how much of Sunnydale he really had access to. From the cave, he could access the electrical and sewer tunnels under the town. The former mayor of Sunnydale had designed these passages with an understanding attitude towards the undead, which meant that Spike could get just about anywhere from his home if need be, even during the daylight.

Including the hospital.

It occurred to Spike as he made his way through the tunnels that stealing blood from a hospital was not an activity the Slayer would smile upon. Hell, he thought. Can't worry about every damned thing. Man's got to eat, doesn't he? Not like I'm biting anyone. Although, he reflected, they've probably got some fresh ones down in the...and then the thought occurred to him that Joyce might still be in the morgue. Had he still been able to eat, he might have vomited.

"Bloody humans!" He shouted, his voice sending echoes down the passage walls ahead of him. When, he wondered, did I start to care about a pack of idiot mortals and their pointless crusade? Loving a Slayer was one thing, but her family? Her friends? He'd even saved Xander of all people. The trouble wasn't that caring for them bothered him greatly, for it did not. Rather, what upset him was that he could not care for them without seeing himself as they saw him; as a murderer, a monster, a vampire. For over a hundred years he had worn those labels like badges of honor. Now they brought only shame.

"You make me miss being alive," he had told her. The Slayer could never understand what those words might cost him.

It was with these thoughts in mind that Spike climbed his way into Sunnydale Memorial Hospital.

***

The building was not open yet, for the most part. Most of the ER doctors and nurses were asleep, along with the patients staying overnight. The only people who really needed to be avoided were the janitorial staff, and Spike had little trouble evading them. A restroom, or a side passage, could easily get him out of sight long enough for the maintenance worker in question to pass him by. They weren't likely to hear him; Spike could be very quiet, when he needed to be.

The vampire was so pleased with his own stealth that he didn't notice Ben coming out of the locker room until he'd bumped directly into him.

"Hey, mate, watch where you're going!" Spike told him. "People are trying to do important...things here!"

The intern raised his eyebrows. "What exactly are you doing here? The Hospital isn't open yet."

"None of your sodding business!" Spike told the man. "Now if you'll excuse me..."

Ben grabbed his arm and held him in place. The man was strong, for a human. "Do I know you?" he asked.

"Never seen you before in my life." Spike lied. He had, of course, seen the man talking to Buffy at the Bronze the other night. Spike had, for the most part, repressed his urge to attack human beings. Nonetheless, he felt a great desire to do something violent. It wasn't just that the man had flirted with Buffy. It wasn't even that he was currently in Spike's way. There was just something about Ben's square jaw and moppy hair that made Spike's knuckles itch. Only the memory of the shocks the chip could provide held him in check.

"No, I have seen you before." Ben told him. "You're that guy Buffy Summers was complaining about the other..."

Spike's fist caught the man in the jaw before he had a chance to consider what he was doing. Reflexively, the vampire grabbed his head as the intern staggered backwards a few paces, but there was no pain. Spike blinked with surprise.

"What the hell..." Ben started, but was immediately cut off by Spike grabbing his collar and pushing him against a wall.

"Okay, mate," Spike told him, "What are you? You don't smell like demon."

In an easy motion, Ben thrust Spike off of him and onto the floor. The man was considerably more than strong for a human. "I'm not a demon," Ben told him. "But if you're trying to hurt Buffy somehow..."

The vampire got to his feet. "Me? I think you're the one she ought to be worried about."

The man, if that's what he was, suddenly looked concerned. "You're not saying a word to her," he said.

"Why shouldn't I?"

The intern moved so fast that the vampire was off his feet before he was aware that the man had moved. Ben had him by the throat, which would have been inconvenient, had Spike needed to breathe. It did, however, keep him from speaking.

"Well," Ben told him, "I was going to say 'because if you do, I'll kill you', but it sounds as though you're not going to listen to reason. I'm sorry, but it's too dangerous to..."

Ben was cut off by a sharp jab to the throat and a kick to the stomach. Spike continued his attack pausing only when he'd managed to send the intern back into a bench, tripping him and sending him down in a heap.

"Mate," Spike told him, "I wrote the book on dangerous."

"You're a vampire!" Ben accused. He got to his feet and began to circle, keeping Spike at a distance. The man was a coward and probably a poof, Spike decided, but a part of him was glad for the respite. Whatever he was, Ben was much stronger than a vampire. Getting out of this unscathed was going to be difficult.

"Am I?" Spike asked him. "Well spotted, then! Give yourself a gold bloody star."

"And you think you're protecting a Vampire Slayer?"

"I am protecting her."

"This is insane. You're insane."

"And you're a poofter, but I was thinking we could settle this without getting personal."

"Just don't tell her. It's for her own good."

"Mate," Spike told him, "I've spent the better part of two centuries spreading malice, evil, and chaos across the world. I know a white hat when I see one. You don't qualify."

"Then I'm going to have to kill you."

"You're going to have to try." Spike grinned. It had been too long. Ben charged him, crossing the rows of lockers blindingly fast, but this time Spike was ready, using the man's own momentum to send him soaring through the air until he hit the wall head first. Ben got up, enraged. The vampire cocked his head at his opponent and beckoned to him with his index finger. The intern came at him again and this time, Spike opened one of the lockers between them, hitting Ben in the face with the metal door and sending him to the ground again. Spike nonchalantly closed the door again and looked down at his opponent, shaking his head.

"You're going to have to try harder than...what the hell?"

The figure lying on the floor was smaller, blonder, and far more attractive than the intern Spike had been fighting. She did not, however, look any less irritated.

"Why," Glory asked, looking up at him, "am I on the ground?"

"Um, look," Spike was at a loss. "Weren't you just..."

"No, no," she said, getting to her feet, "Don't help me up. It's not as if I expect anyone to show any consideration in this stupid dimension. Hey, do I know you?"

"Er..."

"Hey, yeah! You're that Slayer's boyfriend!"

"Yeah," Spike told her, smirking. "Yeah, that's right, what about it?"

"She didn't tell you where my key is by any chance, did she?" Glory asked, her voice a mask of innocence. The difference in size between the Hell-goddess and Ben was causing the hospital scrubs she was wearing to fit in a way that made it difficult for Spike to concentrate. She came closer, eyes fixed on his face. "It's not nice to stare," she commented, smiling at him. "Not that I blame you." Spike backed away a step, and suddenly found himself pinned against a wall, looking down at her. "You know," she said, "you're kind of cute. But I really need that key, so could you tell me where it is so I don't have to suck out your brain through your ears?"

"Haven't the foggiest," Spike told her, "But...hey! You've got something on your..." the second Glory looked down, Spike headbutted her, knocking the goddess off of him and allowing him to break for the door. He got almost two steps before she caught up with him, spinning him around and pummeling him with a series of punches and kicks. Spike tried to defend himself, but where Ben had failed to learn the advantages his strength and speed could be in a fight, Glory was more than competent. The vampire was simply overmatched.

"You know," Glory told him, sitting on top of him and sending an idle punch at his face each time he stirred, "I'm getting a little fed up with you people. I don't enjoy this. I don't need it. I just want my key! Why do you have to be so difficult?" She punctuated the word with a vicious jab, and Spike felt his mouth begin to fill with blood. He spat it into her face.

"Get buggered, bitch."

Glory screamed and pushed her hands into his head. Spike's vision went blank. There was an odd wrenching sensation, and then a funny cracking sound, and then he was back to himself, and Glory was no longer on top of him.

"Ow!" she shouted at him. "What is this?" The goddess was holding up a small, square object about the size and width of a dime. Although he'd never seen it before, Spike recognized it at once.

"The chip..."

"What kind of a vampire has little pieces of metal in his head?" she demanded. "And why didn't you tell me you were a vampire anyway? I can't feed on you."

"Oh, my profoundest apologies."

She sighed, missing his sarcasm. "It's all right. Well of course she didn't tell you where my key was."

"Can I go, then?" Spike kind of doubted it, but he was in no shape to fight her again, and even if he was, he knew he couldn't win.

"You know what?" she said. "Yeah. Go find that Slayer girl and tell her that the next friend of hers I meet that isn't already dead, I'm going to kill. And tell her I'm going to keep it up until I have my key. I don't have time for this anymore. And I hate these stupid hospital clothes!" With that, the goddess stormed out of the locker room, leaving Spike bleeding, scared, and above all, extremely confused.

Date: 2012-11-23 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-satin-doll.livejournal.com
I know a lot of fandom dislikes Glory but I have a soft spot for her, and she's well-used here, as is Ben. The fight between him and Spike is something I can imagine happening in the story.

Good on you for referring to "Crush". I know a lot of people love it for the 'shippiness but I watched the series for the first time this year (with no preconceived notions of inklings of of a B/S "ship") and I found it incredibly creepy (Chaining a woman up? Threatening to kill his ex-lover? Allowing Dru to taser Buffy? Being abusive to Harmony? I'm not seeing the "cute" or "love" here except his own twisted version - and it's supposed to be twisted. Vampire, remember?), and I think Buffy is right to be wary of him in this story. but so far you don't go the "Buffy is a total bitch for not returning his love" route, which I much appreciate. Again, you're very much IC and true to canon with all the characters.

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